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In 1983, trainer-reinsman Gary Hall Sr was broke, jobless and with four kids under five. Things were looking decidedly grim for Hall, his then-wife Sue and their young family until the relatively unknown, unheralded and unwanted Maru Adios entered his stable. Maru Adios was the only horse the trainer could get hold of, having returned to Hazelmere following an unsuccessful stint as a private trainer for Ron Davies. Without the acquisition of Maru Adios, Hall Sr may have given the game away decades ago and his champion driver son Gary Hall Jr and the re-emerging Clinton Hall might not have become involved in the sport. Furthermore, Zakara, The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn – and numerous other outstanding horses – may not have ever graced Gloucester Park. No one wanted Maru Adios. Little wonder because the horse hadn’t run a place in three years. Fortunately Hall was able to lease the horse off Wally Wright and in that season he won 11 races and ran 22 places, banking $38,000 in stakes and kept the wolf from the door. It’s no surprise that Hall is invariably quick to name Maru Adios as his favourite horse. “Without old Maru Adios there’s no doubt that I would have had to give the game away,” Hall said. “He helped to put us back on our feet, fed the kids and it wasn’t that long afterwards that Roy Annear, a big owner at the time, offered me a bad knee-knocking Adios Vic gelding named Colt Eightytwo.” Colt Eightytwo won a number of races for Hall during that period, and the success he had with him led to Annear offering him the half-brother Zakara. According to Hall, people still remember what a magnificent physical specimen Zakara was. “I don’t know whether it was his good looks or my bad drives that cause people to remember Zakara, but to be fair, I didn’t really think I drove all that bad, having driven over 600 winners in my career,” he said. “We were struggling at the time and needed the money and in the WA Pacing Cups and other big races I overdrove Zakara a few times through anxiety and trying too hard. “That’s why I’m lucky to have Gary (Hall Jr) now. He just doesn’t make those mistakes.” While harness racing fans have lasting memories of Zakara’s glistening coat and long flowing mane, Hall is quick to point out Zakara wasn’t initially an eye-catching animal. “Zakara was a 15-and-half to 16 hands two-year-old and was the worst-looking horse you would ever see. He looked terrible and had about six inches of hair all over and was full of ringworm,” Hall said. “I put him in one of the boxes down back and fed him up and just looked after him and never put him into work, as I was just going to get him looking good and then send him back home. “He had been broken in and I had a couple of staff working for me at the time and I needed to find something for them to do, so they jogged him up then put the hopples on him and he paced reasonably well. “From there we gave him some pacework then one morning we took him to Guildford with Love Of Glory and Almagest, who had run first and third in the Golden Slipper that year and were my first real good horses. “I put young Travis Gardiner on Zakara and asked him to sit last with him and if he couldn’t keep up not to knock the horse around. “Turning for home Love Of Glory was tackling Almagest and along came Zakara with Travis just sitting on him and he went straight past them. It was a shock for us but an even bigger shock for Travis as he never got behind the horse again.” Hall subsequently took Zakara to Wagin for his debut, where he sat five-wide throughout and won easily despite the horse nearly ending up on the outside fence in the straight as he used to bore out. Hall fondly remembers that it was quite a good night as they had a show on there and Zakara also won the prize for best-looking horse. “We didn’t realise what we had at the time, but when we put a pole on his outside it straightened him right up and he went from strength to strength,” he said. In stark contrast to the dark days of the early 1980s the Hall stable is about to claim their eighth WA Metropolitan trainers title, with Gary Hall Jr also having already sewn up his seventh WA Metro drivers title with both winning their first Metro premierships during the 2005/2006 pacing season. Older brother Clinton Hall enjoyed his greatest success earlier this year when he drove Hokonui Ben then trained by his father Gary to an all-the-way upset win in this year’s Group 1 $400,000 WA Pacing Cup. Hall Sr is now well on the way to establishing a powerful family dynasty the likes of which hasn’t been since the dominant days of the Kersley and Warwick families. But unlike the Kersleys and the Warwicks, who ruled WA pacing for decades, Gary Hall Sr had no harness racing background. Hall did, however, have a rapidly-growing love of the sport, the punt and a natural affinity for horses, having ridden recreationally from a young age. “The fact that I didn’t have any preconceived notions worked in my favour as I actually think it was an advantage to become involved without any background in the sport,” Hall said. “I spend a lot of time gaiting them, teaching them to race properly and working on their overall health and fitness. “Zakara taught me this as the more regular his routine was, the better he worked and raced.’’ “Rather than varying their routine with the conventional wisdom being that horses need variation in their work and working them with inferior horses in order to boost their confidence and give them a kill, I try to bring out their competitive instinct by working them with better horses in an attempt to get them to a higher level of fitness and competitiveness.” Hall though is also quick to admit that he learned a lot by watching master horseman Fred Kersley at work. “I learnt more from watching Fred Kersley over the years than he’ll ever know and always admired the way he went about it and Gary (Hall Jr) is named Jr because I wanted him to be exactly like Fred,” Hall said. It’s hard to argue with Hall’s methods, with 30 Group 1 wins later with a record 8 WA Pacing Cups, 5 Fremantle Cups, 3 Inter Dominion Finals, 2 Auckland Cups, Golden Nuggets, Derbies, and virtually every feature race worth winning on the WA harness racing calendar. It means it’s the Hall father and son’s combination that is now the most lethal in WA harness racing. Andrew Carter Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas

Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas  

The $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 is shaping up as an enthralling two-horse showdown between exciting stablemates Elegant Christian and Machtu after the New Zealand-bred three-year-olds had the crowd at Gloucester Park on Friday night in raptures as they obliterated the opposition in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic. Master trainer Gary Hall sen. produced Elegant Christian in superb condition for his first appearance for six months and the big, powerful son of Christian Cullen gave further convincing proof of his enormous potential with a magnificent all-the-way victory. But Elegant Christian, favourite at 2/1 on, was fully tested by Machtu, the 5/1 second fancy who started from barrier four on the back line. Machtu settled at the rear before Gary Hall jun. set him alight towards the end of the first circuit to move into the breeze 1500m from home. Clint Hall used Elegant Christian's sparkling early speed to dash the gelding straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier. The first two 400m sections of the final mile went by in moderate times of 31.1sec. and 30.9sec. before the stablemates became engaged in a thrilling battle for ascendancy over the final circuit when sizzling quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.6sec. left their rivals floundering. Machtu tried valiantly to gain the upper hand, but Elegant Christian responded to every challenge and won the 2536m classic by 2m at a 1.58.5 rate. There was a gap of more than eight lengths to the third placegetter, Mister Jadore, with a further length to Tasmanian Bromac in fourth place. This meant that Elegant Christian remained unbeaten after five starts and that Machtu's winning sequence of six had been brought to an end. "It was an outstanding effort," said Clint Hall. "Elegant Christian is a special horse. He couldn't shake off Machtu, but he only does what he has to. If Machtu had come at us again I think that Elegant Christian would have dug deep and held him off. "If Machtu had led tonight and Elegant Christian had sat outside of him I couldn't have beaten him. I looked back after the finish and there was a bit of a gap between second and third, and that's a bit exciting." Elegant Christian, the sixth foal out of English Elegance, a New Zealand mare by American sire Camtastic, was purchased as a yearling for $27,000 and should prove a wonderful moneyspinner for Karen Hall, Neven Botica, Garry Ralston, Glen Moore, Mark Congerton, John Burt, Andrew Curran and Ross North. His five wins have netted $58,265 in prizemoney. Friday night's victory gave Hall sen. his fifth success in the Caduceus Club Classic. He was successful with The Falcon Strike (2001), Ulrich (2004), Gracias Para Nada (2012) and Northview Punter (2013). Apart from Elegant Christian and Machtu, Hall has several other smart three-year-olds, including Pelusiac, High Courage, Eyre Crusher, Classic American, Courage Rules, Avalon Bromac, Get Outta Eyre, VC Manoeuvre and the talented filly Majorly Foxy Styx. RED SALUTE PASSES HIS ACID TEST WITH FLYING COLOURS West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute stamped himself as a genuine open-class performer when he set the pace and scored an impressive victory in the $21,000 HBF Run For A Reason Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "This was his acid test tonight," said delighted reinsman Chris Voak. After Red Salute had finished second to David Hercules at his previous start a fortnight earlier Voak had told trainer Ross Olivier and the gelding's owners Denise Trobe, Jeanine Diederich, Adrian Staltari and Anthony Jones that it was the first time he had felt like a group 1 horse. "He stepped up and followed a fast speed in that race and tonight we were willing to lead and cop the pressure to see how he would handle it," Voak explained. "But thankfully we didn't have to do that." Red Salute, with the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier, was a heavily-supported 5/4 favourite, with WA Pacing Cup winner and smart last-start winner Hokonui Ben's tote price easing from 10/9 on to 2/1. Red Salute easily won the start and Hokonui Ben, from barrier four, raced three wide for the first 300m before Aldo Cortopassi restrained the gelding to the rear after failing in an early bid to get past Red Salute and Passion Stride (breeze) into the lead. This enabled Voak to get Red Salute to relax and amble through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.6sec. The moderate pace left Cortopassi little or no option but to send Hokonui Ben forward and the seven-year-old began a three-wide move with 1000m to travel. After a third quarter in 29.8sec., Red Salute sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. Red Salute went on to defeat stablemate and 7/1 chance Sensational Gabby, who trailed the leader throughout before finishing fast. Famous Alchemist (45/1) was seventh at the bell and flew home, five wide, to snatch third place from Hokonui Ben. Red salute rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m journey and took his record to 15 wins and 13 placings from 51 starts for stakes of $178,289. "With Aldo baling out early with Hokonui Ben, it helped us," Voak said. "I expected to cop a lead time of 36.5sec. If it was any faster I thought that none of the three of us (Red Salute, Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride) could win the race." The lead time was 36.5sec. and then being able to get a soft first quarter was ideal for Red Salute. "With 400m to travel and with Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride struggling, the only danger was the horse on my back, and this was stablemate Sensational Gabby," Voak said. "I couldn't hold Red Salute's momentum any further round the corner, so I just cut the ribbons at the top of the straight, and he was good enough to hang on." OUR ARLINGTON COMES FROM LAST TO END LOSING SEQUENCE OF 19 Former Victorian performer Our Arlington went into the Marandoo Boys From Rio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a losing sequence of 19 and the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. But this did not deter his admirers who rallied to support the six-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding from an opening on-course tote price of 12/1 to start a warm 7/4 favourite. Clint Hall restrained Our Arlington at the start and the gelding settled down in last position in the field of eleven while Vance Stampalia had 6/1 second fancy Shifting Sand bowling along in front. Our Arlington started a three-wide move 1200m from home and this flushed out Mighty Flying Thomas, which gave the favourite a perfect trail. Mighty Flying Thomas moved to second at the 400m after a 28.5sec. third quarter. Our Arlington sustained a powerful sprint to charge to the front 100m from the post and he won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Little Boy Blue (7/1), with 25/1 chance The Feather Foot rattling home, out wide, from ninth on the pegs at the bell. The winner, making his fourth appearance in WA, rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m. He had not been successful since his win in the $25,000 Hamilton Cup in Victoria in January 2013. He won twice from three starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand in March 2011 and then raced 50 times in Victoria for 11 wins and 12 placings. He now has earned $131,267 from 14 wins and 14m placings from 57 starts. By Washington VC, Our Arlington is out of Holmes Hanover mare People's Princess, who was unsuccessful from ten starts before she produced Hot Night In Paris (129 starts for 11 wins, 26 placings and $85,584) and The Forger (78 starts for 11 wins, 18 placings and $91,650). Our Arlington is also related to former star Roydon Glen, who amassed $463,244 from 22 wins and 15 placings from 56 starts. TURVEY WEAVES HIS MAGIC WITH OUTSIDER HOKURI HANDRAIL Nathan Turvey produced a masterly exhibition in the sulky to land 63/1 outsider Hokuri Handrail an easy winner of the 2130m first heat of the Caduceus Club Come Up And Join Us The Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hokuri Handrail, placed only once at his previous 15 starts, was written off by most punters, who gave him little hope from the No. 5 barrier on the front line. In an open betting race punters pinned their faith on Lovers Delight (3/1), Adda Paternal Suit (7/2), Code Red (6/1), Rocky Marciano (13/2) and Lord Lombo (7/1). Adda Paternal Suit was first out from the inside barrier and Hokuri Handrail was trapped three wide for the first 200m before Turvey restrained the gelding and cleverly eased him to the pegs in fifth position. Almost immediately Turvey eased into the one-wide line. But then 150m later he angled Hokuri Handrail back to the pegs. Justin Prentice then made an early move after 550m, easing 14/1 chance Braemoor from the one-out, two-back position to start a three-wide move which saw him take up the breeze. Then Braemoor received cover when Aiden De Campo moved Lovers Delight to the outside of the pacemaking Adda Paternal Suit. At the bell Hokuri Handrail was tucked away in fifth place, three back on the pegs, covered by Braemoor. But Braemoor momentarily dropped the bit and Turvey was able to get Hokuri Handrail off the pegs and force Braemoor three wide 700m from home. Braemoor sustained a strong three-wide burst to take the lead 125m from the post before Hokuri handrail charged to the front in the final 90m to win by 5m from Lord Lombo, who was eighth at the bell and thundered home, seven wide. Braemoor was third and Rocky Marciano was an excellent fourth after finishing strongly from last in the middle stages. Hokuri Handrail, trained at Baldivis by Kristie Morrone, struck a purple patch in the first half of last year when he won ten times from 11 starts in the space of four months. He now has earned $117,356 from 17 wins and ten placings from 60 starts. SMOOTH CAESAR IS PROVING A BARGAIN AT $10,000 Giant pacer Smooth Caesar, recognised for much of his career as a big amiable gelding who refused to do his best, has turned the corner in remarkable style since being claimed for $10,000 last November. He again revealed his new-found strength and speed when Pinjarra trainer Kim Young drove him to a splendid victory in the 2130m Caduceus Club Positive For Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Since entering Young's stables after being claimed on November 15 by Marie Bingham, the eight-year-old has had 18 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds for earnings of $31,503. Friday night's win boosted his record to 84 starts for 12 wins, 22 placings and $99,557 in prizemoney. Smooth Caesar started from barrier five on the front line and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the breeze outside the pacemaker and 9/4 favourite Myouri. The well-fancied Galactic Galleon settled down in the one-out, two-back position before Colin Brown started a three-wide move 570m after the start. Galactic Galleon moved to the breeze and gave Smooth Caesar the one-out, one-back trail 1300m from home. Galactic Galleon took the lead with 270m to travel before being overhauled by the fast-finioshi9ng Smooth Caesar 25m from the post. The winner rated 1.58.3. Despite winning the previous Friday night and then finishing a good third at Pinjarra the following Monday, Smooth Caesar was neglected by punters and started at 201/1. "We tried to change his racing pattern and finally he has caught on," Young said. "He's finishing strongly now." He explained that Smooth Caesar was kept out three wide in the early stages because Kyle Harper, driving Im Clean Cut, was having difficulty in restraining his horse in the breeze because he was kicking a wheel and was fired up. SOUTHERN LEGACY COMPLTES A TRAINING DOUBLE FOR Justin Prentice Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has no regrets that he accepted an offer two years ago from Pinjarra horseman Ray Grantham to lease unraced three-year-old filly Southern Legacy. Southern Legacy has proved to be a wonderful acquisition for Prentice and when Kaiden Hayter drove her to a smart all-the-way win in the 1730m The West Australian Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night she boosted her earnings to $81,131 from six wins and ten placings from only 24 starts. The win completed a training double for the 25-year-old Prentice, who was successful earlier in the program with Jezalenkoubeauty. He also trained and drove third placegetters Braemoor and Mister Sarkozy and Tasmanian Bromac, who finished fourth in the Caduceus Club Classic. Prentice engaged Hayter, his stable foreman, to drive Southern Legacy in order to receive a concession for a junior driver. This prevented Southern Legacy from automatically being drawn an outside barrier. Southern Legacy drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Hayter made the most of this advantage and he rated the five0-year-old well in front. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.1sec. and 31.5sec., Southern Legacy sprinted over the final sections in 28.7sec. and 28.6sec. Southern Legacy rated 1.58.1 in defeating 7/1 chance Blue Jean Baby by a half-length, with 2m back to La Stella Del Mare (11/1) in third place. "She has been a most consistent performer," Prentice said. "She now has backed up three weeks in a row. I normally space her runs and try to keep her racing against fillies and mares." NUCLEAR BUNNY IS JUST A ONE-TRICK PONY Ace reinsman Colin Brown describes WA-bred six-year-old Nuclear Bunny as a one-dimensional pacer who refuses to do his best unless he races in the lead. Nuclear Bunny was drawn to lead in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and astute punters rallied to the cause and the gelding who boasted a losing sequence of 21 was sent out a strongly-supported second favourite at 7/2 behind the polemarker Stealthy Shannon (3/1). Nuclear Bunny began speedily from barrier three and surged straight to the front, giving Stealthy Shannon an ideal passage behind the pacemaker. A first quarter of the final mile in 28.7sec. was followed by sections of 31.9sec. and 29.2sec. before Nuclear Bunny sprinted the final 400m in 28.8sec. and defeated Stealthy Shannon by just over a length, rating 1.57.8 Nuclear Bunny, trained at North Dandalup by Vivienne Moran, had not been successful since Brown drove her to an all-the-way win over 1700m at Gloucester Park on December 21, 2012. He then had managed only one placing from his next 21 starts. He won at his first three starts, all at Harvey, as a three-year-old in 2010-11. He had 15 starts in Victoria in 2012 for four wins --- two at Warragul and one each at Geelong and Cranbourne. Nuclear Bunny's dam Shoalwater (by What's Next) won at Narrogin and Gloucester Park in 2003. Shoalwater is out of Tasmanian mare Crystal Wrist, who had 91 starts for 13 wins, 18 placings and $64,699. Crystal Wrist won ten times in Victoria and three times in WA. Brown drove her only once ---m for her final victory, in an M1 event at Gloucester Park in April 1996. Crystal Wrist then produced five winners, including Hilton Mile High (1156 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and $80,949) and Hilton Fly High (100 starts for 20 wins, 20 placings and $267,095). "There was some talk about him being retired recently, Brown said. "But we saw this race coming up and thought he could draw (favourably) and could lead. And he showed that tonight. He just loves it in front and he simply doesn't try unless he's in front." Nuclear Bunny now has earned $47,110 from ten wins and five placings from 51 starts. TALK IT UP GIVES NEW OWNERS A REASON TO CELEBRATE Recently-elected Gloucester Park Harness Racing committeemen Laurie Kennedy and a handful of friends celebrated in style at Gloucester Park on Friday night when veteran pacer Talk It Up stormed home to cause an upset by beating 2/1 on favourite Real Hammer in the 2130m 25 Years And Still Going Strong Pace. They had outlaid $10,000 to claim the nine-year-old in the last week of December and the gelding has earned his new connections $16,565 from this win and two placings from eight starts for his new trainer Barry Morrison. Talk It Up was an 8/1 chance from barrier two on the back line and his win completed a double for reinsman Nathan Turvey, who had been successful earlier in the program with brank outsider Hokuri Handrail. Real Hammer was smartest into stride from barrier four on the front line and Robbie Williams had him in front after 120m. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 30.8sec. Real Hammer looked very hard to beat. But he wilted slightly after final quarters in 29sec. and 29.3sec. to lose by a half-head to Talk It Up, who finished fast after enjoying an ideal trail ibn sixth place, one-out and two-back. Talk It Up went four wide on the home turn and finished strongly to get up in the final stride. Robbery, second fancy at 6/1, finished gamely to be a head away in third place. Talk It Up, who ended a losing sequence of 11, has raced 116 times for 13 wins and 44 placings for stakes of $113,420. JEZALENKOUBEAUTY GIVES PRENTICE A GOOD FEELING "In the preliminary he felt like a different horse and when he gets strong and feels good he normally goes good," said Justin Prentice after driving 10/1 chance Jezalenkoubeauty to a convincing victory in the first heat of the 2130m Caduceus Club Members Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "In the preliminary I thought I might have a different horse tonight than the one I've had for a while." This feeling gave Prentice the confidence to go forward at the start from barrier five on the front line. Jezalenkoubeauty raced three wide in the early stages before getting to the breeze, with 13/4 second fancy Reminder Call setting the pace. Boofshalfbrother started a three-wide move 1200m from home and moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, with 2/1 favourite Truckers Buckeroo poised to strike in fifth position in the one-wide line. Truckers Buckeroo loomed as a danger approaching the home turn, but when third on the corner he hit a wheel and broke into a gallop. At the 250m mark Jezalenkoubeauty was hard under the whip and appeared most unlikely to figure in the finish. But Prentice continued to drive the gelding hard under the whip. He responded and got to the front in the final 80m to win by just over a length from outsider Senator Whitby, who finished solidly from the rear. Jezalenkoubeauty was purchased for $12,500 as a yearling by Craig Lynn and now has had 80 starts for eight wins, 25 placings and $64,909. SUVALJKO SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY WITH HEZ GOT THE NOD Shannon Suvaljko made the most of the three inside horses on the front line galloping at the start of the Caduceus Club Oh What A View Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night by spearing through from the 10m line and bursting to the front after 50m with Hez Got the Nod. Suvaljko then dictated terms and noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod fought on doggedly to win narrowly from 18/1 chance Pacific Black, who finished strongly after trailing the leader all the way. Punters groaned when 5/2 on favourite Ben Cartwright, from barrier No. 2, broke into a gallop when the tapes released the field of eleven. Polemarker Compact Rocket and I Am legend (barrier three) also galloped and Suvaljko seized his opportunity to dash Hez Got The Nod through a widening opening caused by Ben Cartwright veering outwards as he galloped. "To win the race I had to find the front off 10m," Suvaljko said. "My plan was to watch Ben Cartwright.I had watched his last starts and noticed that he veered out at the start. So I was waiting for the outward movement at the start. "Hez Got The Nod is a good rolling type. I probably ran the race upside down just to beat Ben Cartwright. Down the back we just blocked everyone in and just sprinted down the straight." Ben Cartwright settled in seventh position before Gary hall jun. sent him forward, three wide, after 350m to move into the breeze. Ben Cartwright was still second with 220m to travel before he began to fade. He dropped back to finish eighth. Hez Got the Nod has had 16 starts in WA for trainer Debbie Padberg for six wins and four seconds. He has earned $77,436 from 11 wins and 20 placings from 49 starts. by Ken Casellas  

The flagships of the Division are the Australasian Classic and New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales held in Auckland Monday 17th February and Christchurch Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of February. Billed as the “Sale of the Stars” their graduates include seven modern day New Zealand Cup winners, thirty two Harness Jewels winners and thirty one Australasian Breeders Crown winners. Unity under the PGG Wrightson organisation has been a major benefit to the sales. Especially in producing a top quality catalogue, funding a very successful inward buyer scheme and the $1 million Sales Race Series now in its 24th year. Harnesslink is running a short series on some of the yearlings on offer. Lot 6 Premier sale - NERVE OF STEEL SIRE - ART OFFICIAL- His first crop raced in North America last year and made a very encouraging start in the Pennsylvania Sires stakes program against the likes of Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. His son Let's Drink On It 1:51.2 created a big impression as did Xtra Desire 1:52.8. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and several have shown up at the early workouts and trials with Taj Bromac the early standout. DAM  - OUR FIRST LADY - She was a $50,000 yearling sale purchase who showed enormous promise before being sidelined with wind issues. Her first foal at stud was the Presidential Ball filly in Presidential Rose who qualified at two and had two starts at three for a win and a second before being sold to Australia for a reported $50,000. Her second foal by Mach Three is Wings Of Hope who also qualified at two but suffered a setback which has meant an enforced break. She is due back into work in three months and is held in good regard by trainer Steven Reid. The third foal and first colt is Nerve Of Steel. Our First Lady is a full sister to Line Of Fire (1:50.3. $240,077) and a half sister to Heres Rommel (1:55.3). Her dam is the very smart race mare Borowan who won 15 races in NSW and Victoria on her way to being voted four year old mare of the year in NSW. The third dam is the race winning mare in Smooth Rowan who left seven winners and is a half sister to Summertime Girl who left the champion pacer, The Falcon Strike ($1.303,000) . OVERVIEW - This great looking horse is the first colt of his dam who had blinding speed but whose wind issues blighted her race career. Her first two filly foals have both qualified at two and the colt is the best type by far that the mare has produced to date. Coupled with his great maternal family, this colt has a lot to recommend him to potential buyers. Lot 32 Premier sale - OFFICIAL EXCUSE SIRE - ART OFFICIAL - The biggest stake earning son of super sire Art Major had his first crop race in North America as two year olds in 2013 . They competed  in the very strong Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program against the great Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. One of his daughters in Sister Stroll (1:54.1. $102,619) created a big impression in her debut season. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and while it is very early both "Coaster " Howe and Gavin Smith have had promising types at recent trials in Canterbury. DAM - PRECIOUS EXCUSE--  she is an unraced Acquisitor (Albatross / Ambiguity) daughter of the broodmare gem Excuse me. This filly is the fifth foal of her dam who is developing a great record at stud. Her first was the smart colt in Precious Lord (p3,1:59.5) and he was quickly followed by the filly I Cee U (1:58) and her full sister Crazy Mach (1:58.6). The fourth foal was Machs Excuse who looked to be the best of them all, being un-beaten at trials and workouts before suffering a career ending pedal bone injury. She is now at stud. The grand-dam Excuse Me is one of the best broodmares of the last 30 years. Not only did she leave eight winners including the very smart Mighty Hurricane (15 wins) and No Excuse (19 wins) but her daughters and grand-daughters have produced a string of elite racehorses headed by the dual New Zealand Cup winner in Just An Excuse ($944,068), DB Bopper (1:50. $690,000), Second Wind (1;49.8. $341,000),  Franco Sequel (1:51. $356,121) and Smooth Performer ($184,355). OVERVIEW - A lovely long barreled filly from a mare who has yet to miss at stud. With the incredible number of elite horses close up in her pedigree she would appear a great prospect on both the track and at stud. Her residual value when she goes to stud will be significant. JC  

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. predicted that Im Victorious would be a star on the Australian grand circuit over the next few years after driving the brilliant five-year-old to a superb victory in the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A bold move by Hall to set Im Victorious alight from the rear with a three-wide burst after 650m to race outside the pacemaker and 6/4 favourite Bettors Fire paid handsome dividends when the Michael Brennan-trained gelding surged to the front on the home turn and beat his arch rival by 2m. This gave the 31-year-old Hall his sixth victory in the Fremantle Cup to equal the record of Chris Lewis in the group 1 event which was first run in 1928. "Im Victorious is a wonderful animal and, fingers crossed, he can stay fit and healthy for the next few years because he's going to be a very good representative for WA in the major Eastern States races," Hall said. And now Brennan, who had the task of preparing Im Victorious for the Fremantle Cup less than a month after the New Zealand-bred gelding had finished fourth in the Miracle Mile at Menangle and then an unlucky last in the Victoria Cup at Melton after receiving severe interference, is setting his sights on the $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup next Friday night. "He was a bit flat when he returned from Victoria before he enjoyed a week off relaxing in his own special paddock at Debbie Prentice's Boyanup property," Brennan said. "Debbie does a fantastic job and she treats him like one of her own. "He then came back into work and was still a little bit flat before he started picking up. His work last Saturday and again on Wednesday was first-class and I was confident of winning the Cup even though he didn't draw a good barrier." Hall jun. praised Brennan, saying: "Full credit to him; to get the horse back to his best after an Eastern States campaign is not easy. I know, through experience with Dad, how hard it can be. Hat's off to Mouse (Brennan), Lara (his wife) and the crew at Brennan Pacing. "I'm sure that everyone hoped Im Victorious could do what he did tonight, but I wasn't really sure whether he could definitely do so. I thought that it was the perfect race to attempt to do that (go forward early and into the breeze) and just see where he was in relation to the rest of them ... to see if he could make his own luck. "A lot of people think that his speed is his biggest asset, but his biggest asset is his manners and his ability to relax when you use him mid-race. He's the complete package. "I have been very lucky to have driven horses like The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn. We were driving down the Freeway the other day and Dad asked me if I realised how lucky I have been in the game. And I do often sit back and think about it, but while you're still competing and coming out every week you've got to keep that behind you and keep moving forward and upwards. "I'm sure that one day when it all sinks in and when you've got time to sit back and think about it all I'll appreciate what has happened and I'll appreciate all the support I've had along the way." Im Victorious was a 5/2 second favourite from barrier four on the back line and he settled down in ninth position before Hall made his pre-emptive strike after 650m. Dasher VC, winner of the Fremantle Cup 12 months earlier, broke into a fierce gallop moments after the start, while Kyle Harper took up the running with the polemarker Bettors Fire. After first quarters of the final mile in 29.5sec. and 29sec., Harper lifted increased the tempo with a 28.2sec. section. But Bettors Fire was unable to shrug off Im Victorious, who gained the ascendancy on the home turn and covered the final 400m in 28.sec. to beat the gallant Bettors Fire at a 1.56.5 rate over the 2536m. David Hercules, fourth favourite at 11/1 from the outside of the back line, raced in tenth position before starting a three-wide run (with a trail) 1400m from home. He sustained his strong effort to finish third, a length behind Betters Fire. Hokonui Ben, who enjoyed a good suit, one-out and one-back, for much of the journey, was a sound fourth. This Time Dylan, a stablemate of Im Victorious, was ninth at the bell before finishing strongly into sixth place. Washakie, third favourite at 5/1, raced in sixth position in the one-wide line in the middle stages before John McCarthy sent him forward, three wide, with 1400m to travel. He moved to fifth at the bell before wilting to 11th. Im Victorious is still comparatively inexperienced, having raced only 31 times for 21 wins and three placings for stakes of $707,035. Hall was driving Im Victorious on Friday night for the first time for 22 months. He drove him three times for his first three wins in February and March 2012 and he boasts a 100 per cent record with the son of Washington VC, who has sired the winner of the past five Fremantle Cups (Im Themightyquinn three times and Dasher VC in 2013 before Im Victorious continued the streak on Friday night). Hall has won the Fremantle Cup six times (twice with The Falcon Strike, three times with Im Themightyquinn and once with Im Victorious). Lewis has won the Fremantle Cup with Black Irish, Village Kid (twice), John Albert, Sandy Bay and Dasher VC. HEZ THE BART MAN COMPLETES A TREBLE FOR CORTOPASSI Darling Downs horseman Aldo Cortopassi struck a purple patch at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he landed a treble in the space of 85 minutes. The 37-year-old Cortopassi completed the treble when he brought veteran pacer Hez The Bart Man home with a spirited burst to score an easy victory in the $25,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup Consolation over 2536m. This followed wins with Topnotch Dan and Pure Empathy. Hez The Bart Man, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, was a 9/1 chance from barrier two on the back line in a race in which the polemarker Sneakyn Down Under was a solidly-supported 9/4 favourite, with Pacific Warrior the second fancy at 4/1. Sneakyn Down Under set a brisk pace and Cortopassi had Hez The Bart Man poised to strike in sixth position in the one-wide line. Cortopassi started a three-wide move approaching the bell and the gelding got to the front 250m from home before drawing away to win by two lengths from 9/1 chance Danieljohn, who finished boldly from seventh at the bell. Famous Alchemist (16/1) raced three back on the pegs and did not get clear until very late, when she flashed home to be third, just ahead of outsider Cyclone Mitch, who rattled home from tenth with a lap to travel. "Hez The Bart Man was going to run second at his previous start (when fourth behind Toretto) before making a mistake with 100m to travel," Cortopassi said. "And I was very happy when I got the call to drive him again tonight. He loves to roll into the race and with a nice even tempo he just keeps going at the one speed." Sneakyn Down Under faded to finish tenth, while Pacific Warrior raced at the rear and was twice inconvenienced in the final circuit before finishing a creditable sixth. Hez The Bart Man, owned by David and Carolyn Ward, won once from two starts in New Zealand and seven times in Victoria before arriving in WA where his 24 starts have produced four wins and 12 placings. His career record stands at 59 starts for 12 wins, 22 placings and stakes of $146,203. LORD LEXUS MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION Five-year-old New South Wales-bred Lord Lexus showed that he has the ability to maintain a successful family tradition when he scored an impressive victory at his second appearance in Western Australia. He overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line and he was last in the first lap before finishing powerfully, three and four wide, from eighth at the bell to romp home an easy two-length winner over In The Perfect Storm in the 2130m Yes Loans Pathway Pace. Trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed and driven confidently by Shannon Suvaljko, Lord Lexus was a 15/2 chance in a race in which polemarker Shnappy (7/4) and Ben Cartwright (5/2 from barrier two) dominated betting. The victory gave Reed a most satisfying birthday present after turning 59 four days earlier. Ben Cartwright was smartest into stride and challenged Shnappy hard, but unsuccessfully, for the lead over the first 350m. This resulted in a particularly fast lead time of 35.5sec. and left Shnappy and Ben Cartwright susceptible to horses who had comfortable passages at the rear. Gary Hall jun. finally got Ben Cartwright to the front 250m from the post, but the four-year-old was a sitting shot. Suvaljko drove Lord Lexus to the front with 100m to travel and the gelding scored by two lengths from 9/2 chance In The Perfect Storm, who started a three-wide burst from the rear approaching the bell and was tracked by the winner, who rated 1.57.7. Ben Cartwright held on to finish third and will pay to follow. Shnappy wilted to finish fifth. Lord Lexus, by Bettors Delight and out of Panoramic Lady, has raced only 17 times for four wins, nine placings and $25,063 in prizemoney. Panoramic Lady had 50 starts for ten wins, ten placings and $29,594. Lord Lexus is a half-brother to outstanding performers Make Me Smile (678 starts for 34 wins, 14 placings and $517,518), Cant Bluff (60 starts for 21 wins, 21 placings and $281,348) and Lady Lexus (54 starts for 25 wins, 17 placings and $316,518). Make Me Smile won the New South wales Derby at Harold Park in April 2005 before finishing third behind Innocent Eyes in the Chariots Of Fire the following January. MACHTU STAKES HIS CLAIM AS A WA DERBY PROSPECT Lightly-raced gelding Machtu is the latest in an ever-increasing army of talented three-year-olds trained in Serpentine by Gary Hall sen. to emerge as a strong prospect for the rich WA Derby in April. Machtu, a winner at three of his five starts in New Zealand, made a stylish Australian debut at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he was favourite at 3/1 on and worked hard without cover before winning the 2130m Yes Loans Three-Year-Old Pace by three lengths from fast-finishing stablemate Eyre Crusher (22/1), with two lengths to the pacemaker Hugh Victor (6/1) in third place. Morgan Woodley jumped polemarker Hugh Victor straight to the front before being tackled hard for the lead by 84/1 outsider Crimson Floyd. The lead time was a fast 35.8sec. and after 500m Matt White gave up his quest for the lead and slotted Crimson Floyd to the pegs to follow Hugh Victor. This left Machtu in the breeze and Woodley gave Hugh Victor a much-needed breather with a 32.8sec. first quarter of the final mile, followed by a 30.9sec. quarter. Hugh Victor then sped over the third 400m section in 28.1sec. and the final quarter went by in 28.8sec. Machtu got on terms with Hugh Victor 550m from home before gaining a narrow ascendancy on the home turn. Eyre Crusher rattled home from last at the bell to deprive Hugh Victor of second placing. The winner rated 1.58.2 over the 2130m to take his record to six starts for four wins and $23,518 in prizemoney. His dam Letatalk (by Holmes Hanover) managed just one win, one placings and $3938 in stakes from 20 starts. "He was purchased for 'a bit of money' and with that sort of record in New Zealand you would expect him to come here and show something," said reinsman Gary Hall jun. "He's worked up very nicely at home and is a really nice horse to drive. He does everything you want him to do and is very versatile. "So that's why we chucked him in at the deep end straight away and he's come up with the goods. I thought that we were in a little bit of trouble early. I don't think he's got a hell of a lot of gate speed, and there was plenty there from a few unexpected ones. "I think that Hugh Victor would have been pretty hard to beat (had it not been for the spirited early challenge). We planned to sit outside of him, quietly, until the 900m and then apply a bit of pressure. But we might have struggled to get over him, based on his run, after what he had to do early." OUR AMAZING ART'S WIN REVIVES HIS FORM AS A TWO-YEAR-OLD As a two-year-old Our Amazing Art won at Addington from The Gold Ace and then finished a head second to Our Major Mark in a group 1 $80,000 feature event. The Gold Ace has now amassed $1,028,621 from his 19 wins and 12 placings from 52 starts and Our Major Mark has earned $645,935 from 22 wins and 20 placings from 70 starts. Our Amazing Art, now a six-year-old, went into the M0-class 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line and at the gift price of 11/2. Punters who took into account his form as a juvenile in New Zealand and his splendid record as a pacemaker were on good terms with themselves when Shannon Suvaljko got Our Amazing Art past the polemarker and 9/4 favourite Justlikelindt and into the lead 50m after the start. Suvaljko then rated Our Amazing Art expertly in front and the Artsplace gelding strolled to victory by 4m over Justlikelindt, rating 1.57.4 to boost his record to 59 starts for 11 wins, 12 placings and stakes of $108,907. This ended a losing sequence of 12, stretching back to last May when he was successful at Penrith. Our Amazing Art, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, had put the writing on the wall the previous Friday night when he sat behind the pacemaker Rocky Marciano and finished second to that pacer over 2536m. "Last week he raced over 2536m and he's a bit suspect over that distance," Suvaljko said. "He can't get hoppled during the week and I'd like to thank Isaac Edwards, who does all the work with this horse."" Last-start winner Tuxedo raced three wide for the first lap before getting to the breeze before he faded to finish ninth. Justlikelindt was blocked for a clear passage in the final lap. "Tuxedo was coming around them, so I had to make him do some work, and down the back I've made them run (with a third quarter in 28.6sec.) and I had them all off the bit," Suvaljko said. "We had Justlikelindt on our back and so I had to hold him back in a pocket for as long as possible." TOPNOTCH DAN GETS HOME AT 67/1 Aldo Cortopassi made the most of the opportunity to drive veteran pacer Topnotch Dan for the first time when trainer Ross Olivieri's No. 1 driver Chris Lewis opted to handle stablemate Lord Coburn in the 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Topnotch Dan, a Tasmanian-bred nine-year-old and rank outsider at 67/1, caused a major upset when he finished solidly from sixth at the bell to win narrowly from fast-finishing pair Menelaus of Sparta (46/1) and Lisharry (17/1). Most punters pinned their faith in noted frontrunner Real Hammer, who was resuming after a spell and looked a certainty from the prized No. 1 barrier, particularly after a dashing Byford trial win the previous Sunday. Real Hammer set the pace and after the first two quarters of the final mile in moderate 29.6sec. and 29.5sec. he looked set for an easy victory. The third section whizzed by in 28.9sec., but Real Hammer then began to show signs of wilting. Topnotch Dan, who had enjoyed an ideal sit in the one-out, two-back position (behind Lord Coburn in the one-out, one-back position), started a three-wide burst after the bell. He went four wide at the 400m and hit the front 50m from the post. Lisharry, who started a three-wide run at the 900m, was forced five wide passing the 400m and he finished determinedly. Menelaus of Sparta impressed in charging home from eighth at the bell to snatch second place. Topnotch Dan, owned by Lloyd and Judith Whish-Wilson of Launceston, had been unplaced at each of his seven starts in his current campaign and had a losing sequence of 13. After extending his losing sequence to ten late in November, Topnotch Dan's classification went from M2 to M1 under the drop-down regulation. He now moves to an M2 mark again. He won 13 races in Tasmania and one in Victoria before arriving in WA where he has raced 41 times for four wins. He won a group 3 $30,000 classic for two-year-olds in Hobart in July 2007 and is one of seven winners out of the unraced Torado Hanover mare Shansue Mod. Topnotch Dan now has earned $182,921 from 18 wins and 32 placings from 105 starts. GDAY MATE'S WIN SURPRISES HIS TRAINER-DRIVER New Zealand-bred five-year-old Gday Mate, whose previous five wins had been in stands, caused an upset in the 2536m mobile Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he stormed home from the rear to snatch victory at 20/1. It was a win which surprised the gelding's trainer-driver Justin Prentice, who gave him little chance against several smart rivals, including J Walker (7/2), Hokuri Handrail (5/4) and Franco Renegade (7/1). Hokuri Handrail (Gary Hall jun.) was kept under pressure in front, with Franco Renegade pulling hard in the breeze and having his head in front for much of the way. Gday Mate raced in ninth position before sustaining a spirited finishing burst to get to the front in the final 30m to beat J Walker by a metre, with Hokuri Handrail a metre away in third place. Franco Renegade wilted to finish seventh. "I didn't think Gday Mate was going to get over J Walker," the 25-year-old Prentice said. "J walker has been flying and was in the one-out, two-back position, leaving us with a lot of ground to make up. At the 400m Gday Mate was making up a lot of ground and I thought we were a chance turning for home. But half-way down the straight I didn't think I was going to catch J Walker. So he's done a massive job to fight out the finish and put his head in front." Gday Mate, owned by Shannon Prentice, Mark Conlan, Clive Berryman, Peter Kennedy and Ross North, has done all his racing in WA where he has had 71 starts for 20 wins, 34 placings and $239,550. BRONZE SEEKER BREAKS A LOSING SEQUENCE OF 16 A switch from mobile racing to a stand did the trick for New Zealand-bred five-year-old Bronze Seeker, who recovered from a tardy start to record a smart victory in the 2503m Yes Loans Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The win ended a frustrating run of outs and a losing sequence of 16, stretching back to his narrow win over Red Salute in the Manea Classic at Bunbury last March. Bronze Seeker, whose previous nine starts had been in mobiles, galloped out for a few strides from the inside barrier on the front line and settled down racing without cover five lengths behind the early leader Balleybofey. Bronze Seeker then was able to gain the one-out, one-back trail 600m after the start when Shannon Suvaljko sent Adda Paternal Suit forward and into the breeze. Bronze Seeker, favourite at 2/1, gave a fine example of his sit-sprint ability. After a 28.3sec. third quarter of the final mile, Bronze Seeker sprinted over the final 400m in 27.9sec. and got to the front in the final couple of strides to beat Balleybofey by a head, with two lengths to Adda Paternal Suit in third place. After winning 11 times from 26 starts in New Zealand, Bronze Seeker, a son of Mach Three, was purchased by Ian Sermon, Lee Bunney, Ross Waddell, Ken Casellas and Tracey Sermon and now the gelding has had 34 starts in WA for Bickley trainer Peter Anderson for four wins and eight placings. "Credit is due to Peter," said reinsman Morgan Woodley. "He's had Bronze Seeker spot on for a long time, but the horse hasn't had any luck and this had all of us pulling our hair out. Bronze Seeker found the line strongly tonight and should win a couple more." PURE EMPATHY Smart New Zealand-bred mare Pure Empathy made the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when Aldo Cortopassi drove her to an effortless all-the-way victory in the first heat of the 2130m Yes Loans Im Themightyquinn Mares Pace on Friday night. "She's been going great this whole campaign," said Cortopassi. "All she needed was a good draw. She won pretty easily and went to the line with the plugs in. I never really asked her for an effort." Pure Empathy, trained at Pinjarra by Brad Groves, was favourite at 9/4 and she was able to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.7sec. and 31sec. before sprinting over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 28.7sec.Millies Girl (25/1) trailed the leader all the way and finished just more than a length behind the winner in second place. Corza Commotion (18/1) raced three back on the pegs and got clear in the late stages to flash home into third place. Pure Empathy, owned by Brad and Kelly Groves, Laurie and Valerie Groves and Kalina Brew, has had 56 starts for ten wins, 18 placings and $76,230. MAGGIES MYSTERY PROVES TOO GOOD FOR HER MALE RIVALS West Australian-bred five-year-old Maggies Mystery, the only mare in the 1730m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, proved too speedy for her ten gelding rivals when Kim Prentice drove her to an all-the-way victory. Favourite at 5/4 on, Maggies Mystery, trained at Burekup by Colin Reeves, made full use of the prized No. 1 barrier and was able to withstand constant pressure applied by Cool Johnny and go on and win by a nose from 13/1 chance Rocky Marciano, with 2m back to 6/1 chance Heez Orl Black in third place. Maggies Mystery sprinted over the final 400m in 28.3sec. and rated 1.56 in taking her record to breeder-owner Kim Marsh to 59 starts for 12 wins, 16 placings and $133,155. "I didn't really have any concerns mid-race when Cool Johnny was applying pressure in the breeze," Prentice said. "She was always under control. Down the back they were coming four and five wide and she took a little bit to get going. But when I pulled the deafeners she knuckled down and did the job. "Morgan (Woodley) had me 20m out when Rocky Marciano was definitely in front. But to Maggies Mystery's credit she kicked to regain the lead. Maggies Mystery is a beautiful horse to drive and she will keep earning." by Ken Casellas  

Odds on a new driver and trainer will join list of winners of Golden Nugget Chris Lewis, who will drive Heez On From barrier 12 in Friday night's Group One Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship, is the only driver in this year's field who has won the race previously. Lewis won with Vero Prince in 1987, Flashing Star in 1994, Saab in 1998 and Dasher VC in 2010. He trained Vero Prince with the other three all being freelance drives. Similarly, Gary Hall is the only trainer to have previously trained a winner of the Golden Nugget courtesy of Gold Ace in 2011 where took over the horse for a WA campaign aimed specifically at the race. Hall's superstar pair of The Falcon Strike (2001) and Im Themightyquinn (2008) were both beaten in their respective Golden Nuggets before going on to far greater heights in subsequent seasons. This year Hall is represented by two starters in My Hard Copy and Northview Punter which have both drawn awkwardly and will need their fair share of luck to give Hall a second Nugget win as a trainer. Eastern States trained horses have got a remarkably good strike rate in the Golden Nugget with 14 of the previous 33 runnings of the race seeing the winner come from outside of Western Australia. With the likes of Chilli Palmer, Nowitzki and Bit Of A Legend drawn between barriers one and four there is a fair chance the record will stand at 15 of 34 after this week's race. Previous winners Lancaster Park Golden Nugget 4yo Championship      Date                       Winner                           Trainer                        Driver  6/02/1981       JUSTIN HANOVER         A L (Tony) Peacock      A L (Tony) Peacock      12/02/1982      SINN FEIN                      G D (Greg) Harper       G D (Greg) Harper       11/02/1983      CLASSIC GARRY          G D (Greg) Harper       F R (Fred) Kersley      20/01/1984      YARRACOOLA               T B (Trevor) Warwick    T B (Trevor) Warwick    8/02/1985       MORANO MAGIC NZ      T B (Trevor) Warwick    T B (Trevor) Warwick    7/02/1986       VANDERPORT                D F (Don) Murphy        A (Anne) Frawley        13/02/1987      VERO PRINCE              A C (Chris) Lewis       A C (Chris) Lewis       12/02/1988      OUR MAESTRO NZ      R V (Bob) Knight        V J (Vin) Knight        10/02/1989      SINBAD BAY                  R V (Bob) Knight        V J (Vin) Knight        15/12/1989      WESTBURN GRANT    V W (Vic) Frost V W (Vic) Frost 25/01/1991      ADMIRAL HOLLIDAY NZ     B A (Bryan) Rogers      B A (Bryan) Rogers      24/01/1992      IMPRESSIONIST NZ     T E (Ted) Demmler       T E (Ted) Demmler       22/01/1993      VALLEY CHAMP             D T (Des) Parr  G E (Gary) Hall (Snr)   28/01/1994      FLASHING STAR           C L (Colin) Cummins     A C (Chris) Lewis       27/01/1995      SLICK VANCE NZ          R (Reg) Trevean T B (Trevor) Warwick    8/12/1995       BEEFY T NZ                     J P (John) Green        R J (Rod) Chambers      6/12/1996       MON POPPY DAY ***     R J (Rod) Chambers      R J (Rod) Chambers      5/12/1997       SALINGER                       F R (Fred) Kersley      F R (Fred) Kersley      18/12/1998      SAAB                                R A (Ross) Olivieri     A C (Chris) Lewis       10/12/1999      COUNTESS KALA NZ        N J (Noel) Keiley       L B (Lindsay) Harper    15/12/2000      SEELSTER SAM NZ     D W (Dennis) Wilson     D W (Dennis) Wilson     14/12/2001      MANIFOLD BAY             G K (Grant) Crane       G (Gavin) Lang  13/12/2002      TRICKY VIC NZ             M G (Mike) Reed M B (Mark) Reed 20/02/2004      TE KANARAMA              G R (Graeme) Watts      G R (Graeme) Watts      8/04/2005       TARTARY GLADIATOR   K F (Kevin) Keys        K F (Kevin) Keys        16/12/2005      GEE WHIZ FIZZ             S D (Steven) Burton     R (Ryan) Warwick        15/12/2006      MR YANKEE NZ            G D (Greg) Harper       K K (Kade) Howson       14/12/2007      LOMBO POCKET WATCH      P R J (Paul) Fitzpatrick        G J (Gavin) Fitzpatrick 28/11/2008      SCHINZIG BULLER     G D (Greg) Harper       K K (Kade) Howson       27/11/2009      BONAVISTA BAY            E J (Emma) Stewart      M B (Mark) Reed 26/11/2010      DASHER VC NZ            R A (Ross) Olivieri     A C (Chris) Lewis       25/11/2011      GOLD ACE NZ               G E (Gary) Hall (Snr)   G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr)   7/12/2012       IM VICTORIOUS NZ        M G (Michael) Brennan   J K (Justin) Prentice                                   *** True Takeoff - 1st but disq swab                                                    Alan Parker Assistant Manager - Harness Racing  

Victorian invader Chilli Palmer is the least experienced runner in the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but he is in devastating form and has excellent prospects of giving outstanding trainer Dean Braun a perfect record in this group 1 event for four-year-olds. The 37-year-old Braun has had two runners in this event --- and each was successful, with Mustang Mach starting favourite at 6/4 and winning from Lovers Delight in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen starting at 5/2 on, setting the pace from the No. 2 barrier and holding on grimly to beat Bronze Seeker by a half-head 12 months ago. Chilli Power has strung together five wins in succession and goes into Friday night’s event with an enviable record of six wins and a second from only eight starts. He fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. But Braun sees this as a lucky omen. Mustang Mach wore the No. 12 saddlecloth and started from the outside of the back line for his victory in the McInerney Ford Classic when he raced three wide early to move outside the pacemaker Seel N Print after 750m before getting to the front with 450m to travel and fighting on grandly to defeat the fast-finishing Lovers Delight. Chilli Palmer, a New Zealand-bred gelding by Elsu, warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before sprinting home brilliantly over the final 400m in 27.7sec. to win easily from The Major League over 1720m at Melton last Saturday night. That followed an easy first-up victory over 2100m at Geelong 12 nights earlier. Braun enjoyed his best season in 2012-13 when he trained 106 winners and 93 placegetters in Victoria from only 287 starters. He also won races in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart and Perth, with his filly Itz Nosurprisesthere successful in the group 1 Queensland Oaks. He has started the 2013-14 season in fine style and is in third place in the Victorian Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 26 winners and ten placegetters from just 54 starters. Champion New Zealand horse Bit Of A Legend has drawn out wide at No. 6 on the front line and reinsman Brent Mangos will be hoping for a far better performance from the stallion after his failure as an even-money favourite when a wilting 11th behind Nowitzki in the Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester park last Friday night when he started from barrier five and worked hard in the breeze. This disappointing effort followed his smart win at his WA debut the previous week when he dashed to an early lead, set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.1sec. He has raced 35 times for 17 wins and 11 seconds for stakes of $638,928 and cannot be underestimated. Adding tremendous interest will be the appearance of the only mare in the event, Robyns C C, who is trained at Serpentine by Chris Brew and is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line. The mare, who was driven by Mangos at two of her three wins in New Zealand, is in superb form and has not been extended in winning at each of her past six starts. Robyns C C is extremely versatile and has won when leading, after racing without cover and when held up for a late burst. Brew’s other runner, Glenferrie Hood (seven wins and four placings from 13 starts) will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, immediately behind Robyns C C. The Victorian-trained Nowitzki, who gave an excellent frontrunning display (from the No. 1 barrier) to score an easy victory over Mexicano and Northview Punter in the 2130m Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday night, faces a tougher task over 2536m this week after drawing the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. has won the McInerney Ford Classic with The Falcon Strike (2001) and Im Themightyquinn (2008) and this year he will be represented by Northview Punter (14 wins from 26 starts) and My Hard Copy (nine wins from 30 starts). The consistent Northview Punter is a tough, no-nonsense type of pacer with sound prospects from the No. 4 barrier. He trailed the pacemaker Nowitzki for much of the way last week when a fighting third to that gelding. My Hard Copy, an easy all-the-way winner over 1730m at a 1.54.6 rate two starts ago, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and will be driven by Shane Butcher. Gary Hall jun. will again be in the sulky behind Northview Punter. Bickley trainer Peter Anderson also has two runners in Friday night’s race, Mexicano (barrier No. 3) and Rocky Marciano (inside of the back line). Mexicano impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs and finished strongly to be second to Nowitzki and Rocky Marciano ran on gamely from five back on the pegs to finish fourth. BETTOR COVER LOVER SET TO PASS THE MAGIC $1 MILLION MARK A perfect barrier at No. 2 on the front line should be the ingredient for success for champion New Zealand mare Bettor Cover Lover in the $40,000 Norm’s Daughter Classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owned by prominent West Australian veterinary surgeon Trevor Lindsay, Bettor Cover Lover has a superior record to that of her 11 rivals and she looks set to notch her 20th win from 35 starts and boost her earning past the $1 million mark. The big, rangy mare who stands 16.2 hands has improved a lot since her seventh behind Bettors Fire in the Mount Eden Sprint three Fridays ago. That was her first appearance for five months and she had the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. The six-year-old has worked in fine style for trainer-reinsman Brent Mangos since that defeat and paced stylishly when second to the frontrunning Sensational Gabby in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week when the final two 400m sections were covered in 27.1sec. and 28.4sec. Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners, Askmenow (barrier one), Korobeit Angel (seven), Famous Alchemist (inside of the back line) and Chloe Vargarita (No. 2 on the back line). Askmenow has won at nine of her past 14 starts and is a good frontrunner. But Bettor Cover Lover should reveal superior early speed and is likely to burst to an early lead. The fastest beginners on the front line are Sensational Gabby (No. 3) and Leda McNally (No. 4) and they should make life interesting and challenging for Mangos. Sensational Gabby, a five-year-old who has won at 24 of her 36 starts, will be having her first start for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and it is problematical whether Chris Lewis will ask the mare to go flat out at the outset at her first appearance for seven months. However, Chris Voak is sure to be tempted to make an early bid for the lead with the speedy Leda McNally, who is blessed with sparkling gate speed. She began like a flash from the inside barrier before strolling to an effortless all-the-way victory at a 1.54.3 rate over 1730m last Friday night. Leda McNally started from the inside barrier in the 2012 Norm’s Daughter Classic when she trailed the pacemaker Lucie Boshier (barrier three) and was blocked for a clear run when an unlucky third to that mare. Lucie Boshier has won once (four starts ago) and has been unplaced eight times from her past nine starts and she is hard to recommend from the No. 5 barrier. The best of the Hall runners could be Famous Alchemist, who should enjoy a good passage from the inside of the back line. Famous Alchemist had a tough run, three wide early and then in the breeze, when a sound third behind Leda McNally and Deluxe Edition last Friday night. HAYTER GETS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY WITH DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR Young Bunbury reinsman Kaiden Hayter has been handed a golden opportunity to land another Metropolitan winner after being engaged to handle the speedy Dredlock Rockstar in the 1730m McInerney Ford Falcon Ute Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 22-year-old Hayter was offered the drive behind the Michael Callegari-trained five-year-old to enable the gelding to contest the $17,500 event which is restricted to M1-class pacers. Hayter’s junior concession qualified Dredlock Rockstar, an M2-class performer, to contest the race. And Dredlock Rockstar’s prospects soared when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier. Dredlock Rockstar is in superb form, with his past 17 starts producing seven wins and nine placings. He was most impressive at Gloucester Park last Friday week when Aaron Beckett (replacing the suspended Ashleigh Markham) drove him to a brilliant all-the-way victory over Ohoka Dallas and Shardons Rocket in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup. That took the gelding’s record to 41 starts for 12 wins and 17 placings for stakes of $100,056. This win came a week after Dredlock Rockstar had finished powerfully from last at the bell to be third behind Bettors Fire and Im Victorious in the Mount Eden Sprint. Seven-year-old Jar Zinyo, who has a losing sequence of 20 stretching back to a win at Melton 23 months ago, looks a place certainty. The gelding, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the inside of the back line and should trail the pacemaking Dredlock Rockstar throughout. Tough seven-year-old Wrongly Accused also has bright place prospects after he ended a losing sequence of 11 with an easy victory over Raymon John at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. That took the Tony Svilicich-trained gelding’s record to 21 wins and 47 placings from 182 starts. SMART TRIAL A POINTER TO THE PRODIGY’S FIRST-UP PROSPECTS A smart trial victory at Pinjarra on Sunday morning by The Prodigy was a strong pointer to her prospects in the 2130m McInerney Ford Belmont Service Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Prodigy, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, sped over the final 400m of the trial in 27.6sec. and scored by two and a half lengths from Our Jerry Lee. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on Friday night and should be prominent throughout. The Prodigy has not appeared since she raced erratically and covered a lot of extra ground before finishing a distant eighth behind Artistic Copper in the $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies last April. Artistic Copper, trained by her breeder-owner Mike Howie, looks likely to be one of The Prodigy’s main rivals. She will start from the No. 1 barrier and Nathan Turvey is likely to attempt an all-the-way win. Artistic Copper resumed after a spell at Northam on Sunday when she raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished third behind Shes So Cool. Shes So Cool faces a tougher task on Friday night from out wide at barrier No. 6. She will again be driven by Brent Mangos, who replaced Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson on Sunday after Howson was suspended for 12 days for having obliged another runner to cover extra ground in a race at Bunbury on Saturday night. New Zealand-bred filly The Parade will be hard to beat despite starting from the outside of the back line. Trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, The Parade has scored convincingly at each of her past three starts, two at Pinjarra and one at Gloucester Park. The return to racing of Shez Sensational adds further interest to the race. Shez Sensational is trained at Byford by Callan Suvaljko and she showed abundant promise as a two-year-old and is capable of a bold first-up showing. DAVID HERCULES LOOKS A GOOD BET AFTER BRILLIANT FIRST-UP WIN The ease in which David Hercules defeated his rivals, first-up, over 1730m last Friday night should influence punters to support the seven-year-old when he contests the $21,000 McInerney Ford Falcon Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. David Hercules, trained by David Thompson, led easily from barrier one and sped over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. to win by six lengths from Son of Fergie at a 1.54.2 rate. David Hercules will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Morgan Woodley is sure to attempt another all-the-way win. However, Woodley might not have an easy task to send David Hercules straight to the front, with Hokonui Ben drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. Hokonui Ben also was racing first-up in last Friday night’s event in which he started from barrier three and raced in the one-out and one-back position before being hampered for room in the closing stages and finishing fifth behind David Hercules. by Ken Casellas  

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has won the $30,000 Sealanes Parliamentarians Cup six times since the race was inaugurated in 1993 and he has bright prospects of maintaining his great strike rate by driving Dasher VC to victory in the 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He should improve a lot on his first-up run (when a fighting fourth behind Bettors Fire in the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint last Friday night) and Chris is happy with him,” said Aiden De Campo, son of the seven-year-old’s trainer Andrew De Campo. “He will probably be doing the work in the breeze, but hopefully he’ll be good enough to win. He was always going to need the run last week, at his first start for almost nine months. We don’t hopple him in between runs and Dad works him in the cart in the bush. “We have been keeping him off the track and confining him to bush work in an attempt to keep him sound. He’s got bad joints, but it’s nothing serious. He’s an old horse and it’s just a bit of wear and tear.” The New Zealand-bred Dasher VC, who has amassed $629,342 in prizemoney from 21 wins and eight placings from only 46 starts, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier six on the front line on Friday night and Lewis is likely to go forward in the early stages in a bid to get to the breeze or even take the lead. There is no a great deal of natural speed on the inside of Dasher VC, apart from Please Release Me, who has been placed only twice from his past 11 starts. Please Release Me will start from the No. 5 barrier and it will be most interesting to watch what tactics Chris Brew adopts behind the speedy and versatile eight-year-old. There is also little doubt that the Tony Svilicich-trained Shardons Rocket (Morgan Woodley) will go forward from barrier four. Shardons Rocket is racing with great heart and his effort when sixth behind Bettors Fire last week, when he raced three wide in fourth place for almost the entire journey, was full of merit. But there is little argument that Dasher VC is certainly the class runner in the Cup. He gave a sample of his wonderful ability when he led and held on grimly to win the 2936m Fremantle Cup by a head from Im Themightyquinn last January. A win this week by Dasher VC would help overcome the disappointment of Andrew De Campo when his pacer Lombo Navigator (driven by Matt White) set the pace until the final 150m when second to Im Themightyquinn in the Parliamentarians Cup over 2536m 12 months ago. Lewis has won the race with Hilarion Star (1993), Heros Knight (1998), Our London Pride (1999), Jimmy Nail (2003), Competitive Edge (2006) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2010). Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have a strong representation in Friday night’s race, with both Ima Rocket Star (Colin Brown) and Our Major Mark (Ryan Warwick) is splendid form and capable of winning, despite their back-line draws. Greg Bond and Brown combined to win the 2004 Parliamentarians Cup with Money Magnet and Bond is extremely happy with the form of his runners. Ima Rocket Star, a winner at 25 of his 57 starts, raced four and three wide early and then without cover when a fighting second to Bettors Fire in the 2536m Navy Cup last Friday week. That followed wins over 2536m and 2130m and a splendid second to Im Victorious at his three previous outings. Our Major Mark notched his 21st victory when stormed home from last 360m from home to win by two lengths from Hez The Bart Man over 2536m last Friday night. Seasoned performer Davy Maguire has drawn nicely on the inside of the back line for his first start for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg. He was claimed for just $5000 by John and Debbie Padberg when he scored a stylish win at a 1.55 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Monday week. “I quite like him,” said Mrs Padberg. “He’s fit and his track work has been very good.” Leda McNally, the only mare in the race, is nicely drawn at No. 2 on the back line and she is capable of unwinding a sparkling late sprint. Dredlock Rockstar, an M1-class performer trained at Busselton by Michael Callegari, was a 40/1 chance when he impressed greatly last Friday night when he thundered home from 12th and last at the bell to be third behind Bettors Fire and Im Victorious. He will start from barrier two on the front line. BONDS AND BROWN LOOKING FOR MIDNIGHTY DYLAN TO REPEAT THE DOSE “He’s a noted frontrunner and loves this trip,” declared trainer Greg Bond when assessing Midnight Dylan’s prospects in the $21,000 Normandie Foods Italian Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bond and his wife Skye, part-trainer of the New Zealand-bred five-year-old, are confident of success this week after preparing the winner of the Italian Sprint in the past three years. They have combined with ace reinsman Colin Brown to win the sprint with Motu Treasure in 2010 and 2011 and Kamwood Laughter last year. Motu Treasure (10/9 on) led from barrier four and won easily from Mon Gee and Tsunami Lombo in 2010 before he started from the No. 2 barrier and at 9/2 when he set the pace and held on to defeat the 6/4 on favourite Grinjaro by a nose in 2011. Last year Kamwood Laughter was favourite at 5/4 on from barrier four. She raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to sixth at the bell. She was badly blocked for a clear passage in the back straight before she flew home, out wide, from sixth at the 250m mark to beat the pacemaker Elite Angel by a half-length. Midnight Dylan, a winner at 12 of his 55 starts, gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win effortlessly from Empire Flame at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m two starts ago, at Gloucester Park five Friday nights ago. A week later he started from the No. 2 barrier when he challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead from polemarker Western Cullen. After racing in the breeze for a while Midnight Dylan raced in the one-out, one-back position and failed to flatter, finishing sixth behind Western Cullen. Bond said it would be wise to overlook that unplaced effort, saying: “Before his win the previous week he had had a couple of runs in Kalgoorlie and at his latest outing he was probably one and a half to two lengths off his best. So we took him home and freshened him up, which he has enjoyed. “He’s now all good to go and we expect him to come out, fit and fresh and firing. He will be holding up from the inside barrier and leading. I’m looking forward to the race, now that he has drawn barrier one. That makes his job a tad easier, if nothing else. He’s not a certainty, because there are some good horses in the race, including The Ragpickers Dream and Danieljohn.” The Bonds also have an excellent second string runner in the race in Your Good Fortune, a smart five-year-old with 14 wins from only 30 starts. Your Good Fortune, a winner at four of his past five starts, is drawn at No. 4 on the front line and will be handled by Ryan Warwick. “Your Good Fortune is a horsed with more than a good share of ability,” Bond said. “If the race is run upside down and if he’s camped over them, he could be dangerous.” Bond said that if Midnight Dylan won another couple of city races he was most likely to be sold to race in America. “We sold Kamwood Laughter to America and she has already won a few races at Yonkers,” he said. “Motu Treasure was sold to race in Adelaide, but after one start at Globe Derby Park he injured a leg. However, he’s on the mend.” Aiden De Campo said he expected a good showing from Danieljohn, who will start from barrier three on the front line at his first appearance since late June. The winner of 16 races from 41 starts, Danieljohn gave a sample of his class when he won the group 2 San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park last January and the group 3 Harvey Cup from Russley Rascal and Franco Renegade in March. “He has had a fair amount of work and is pretty forward in himself,” said de Campo, who will drive the five-year-old who is trained at Capel by his father Andrew. “He worked well on our home track this morning (Tuesday) when I sat behind Quick Reflection and got up to beat that horse, without either horse being extended.” HALL ON THE DOORSTEP OF THE MILESTONE OF 1500 CITY WINNERS Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is on the doorstep of a notable milestone. The 64-year-old Serpentine horseman has 15 runners engaged in the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he needs just one winner to record his 1500th city training success. Most of his runners have sound each-way prospects and when asked for his best prospects he said that Askmenow and This Time Dylan were the two he fancied most. But he also said that Soho Highroller, Rowchester, The Ragpickers Dream and Jar Zinyo had sound claims and most of his other starters were capable of winning if they enjoyed a slice of luck. Much water has passed under the bridge since Hall, a week after celebrating his 23rd birthday, trained and drove his first city winner when he dashed 5/2 chance Tobaree to an early lead, set a dawdling pace and then charged away to win at a 2.12 rate over 12 furlongs from Elaborate and Royal Spinner. He has been a trendsetter who has produced many outstanding performers, including superstars The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn. Hall notched his 1499th Metropolitan winner when his son Gary drove hot favourite My Hard Copy to a splendid all-the-way victory over Jay Bees Grin in the 1730m event for C3-class pacers at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Hall said that the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Askmenow should prove hard to beat in the 1730m Del Basso Smallgoods Parliamentarians Cup for Mares Pace. Askmenow, to be driven by Gary Hall jun., will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. She has won at nine of her past 13 starts and Hall jun. is likely to attempt an all-the-way win over the sprint trip. Hall sen. has four runners (Askmenow, Chloe Vargarita, Famous Alchemist and Korobeit Angel) engaged in the race and he had little hesitation in declaring that Famous Alchemist was the best of that quartet. “But she has drawn on the outside (No. 7) on the front line and will find it tough from there,” he said. “She has got a bit more class and a bit more speed than Askmenow, but Askmenow is more forward in condition and she’s tough. “Dropping back from 2536m to 1730m will also certainly help Askmenow.” Askmenow started from barrier four in a 2536m event last Friday night and she worked hard before getting to the front after 450m and she faded to finish third behind Our Major Mark and Hez The Bart Man. She should appreciate racing against her own sex this week. Hall also has high hopes for This Time Dylan, who will start from the outside of the front line in the 2130m Action Industrial Catering Claiming Pace. The New Zealand-bred eight-year-old was most impressive last Friday night when he came from the rear to race three wide (without a trail) for almost 800m before surging on the front and scoring an 8m victory over Lord Coburn in a 2503m stand. It was his fourth win in a stand from his past six starts, but he should be capable of readjusting to a different tempo when he returns to mobile racing this week. In the latest news from the Hall stable star performers Im Themightyquinn and Alta Christiano are back in work and on the comeback trail. “Im Themightyquinn has been back in work for four days and his sore feet seem to be all right,” Hall said. “He has no other problems and if everything goes well he should be able to resume racing in five to six weeks. Hopefully he will be back to his best for the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup. I’m still keen to take him to Sydney for the interdominion championship next March. He’s got to defend his title.” Hall said that Alta Christiano, a winner of seven of his 11 starts and unbeaten at three appearances in WA, was on the mend after damaging the suspensory ligament in his nearside foreleg. “After receiving stem cell treatment he got an infection, and that was nearly the end of him,” Hall said. “But he has overcome all those problems and started work on Monday. He probably won’t be ready to race again until about March. If I can get him up and going, I could take him to Sydney for the Chariots of Fire.” NOWITZKI, A FIRST-UP SPECIALIST, TO MAKE HIS WA DEBUT Star Victorian-bred four-year-old Nowitzki should continue his perfect record of recording a first-up victory by proving too smart for his 11 rivals at his WA debut in the 2130m BLVD Tavern Joondalup Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Art Major gelding has settled well at Michael Brennan’s Pinjarra training establishment for his Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack and he has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. He is unbeaten at his three first-up starts in a brief career of 14 runs for seven wins and four placings. He won by 6.7m at his debut, at Melton in March 2012, and he also was successful at his next two first-up runs, by 8.2m at Cobram in November 2012 and by 14.1 at Kilmore last July. He has not raced since he started from the back line, dashed to an early lead, set the pace and faded to third behind Chilli Palmer and Hilltop Hustler over 2240m at Melton on August 23. At his previous start he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing third behind Bit Of A Legend over the same journey at Melton. Nowitzki’s only serious rival on Friday night appears to be Rowchester, who will start out wide at barrier six on the front line. Rowchester, trained by Gary Hall sen., has turned the corner with strong wins at his past two starts --- when racing in the breeze and beating Tommy Smith over 2185m at Pinjarra and when leading and beating Ardens Southee over2536m at Gloucester Park. by Ken Casellas  

It's that time of year again for harness racing trainer Graham Seymour. The astute Queensland trainer has headed south on his annual pilgrimage chasing the big prizes on offer with a team of exciting young pacers.

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